Gold river data

Discussion in 'Freshwater Fishing Forum' started by Aces, Feb 28, 2020.

  1. Aces

    Aces Well-Known Member

    Such terrible news

    Hot off the press from the contractor working on behalf of the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development (aka the steelhead management agency for the Province of BC). Lots of questions to be asked but, in the meantime:

    o Gold River Winter-run sport fishery has remained closed.
    o Heber River summer run fishery - status quo

    · Snorkel Surveys

    o Peak count during 2019 Steelhead Winter-run season was 4 adult steelhead with in the Standard index section ~8km in the lower river between the Main bridge in town down to the Ucona Confluence (Garbage Dump).
    o Latest Count in 2020 (Feb 20, 2020) Zero fish observed in the Standard Index Section.
    o Heber River summer runs in 2018 count was 259 (right at long term average) and in 2019 count was 77, well below long term average.

    · Standing Stock Fry Abundances in summer 2019

    o showed Very Low fry densities (Below 25% of estimated capacity) in the Lower Gold
    o showed Low fry densities (Below 50% of estimated capacity) in the Upper Gold
    o Heber River showed good fry densities (near 50-100% of estimated capacity)

    · Predator monitoring, occurring over 10 days in March and April 2019

    o Seals observed on three separate occasions in the “lake Pool”
    o Seals, up to 6, observed in and around the estuary on 9 out of 10 visits
    o No Seals/predators observed in other River Locations (Big Bend, Pumphouse, Helicopter run, Ucona confluence etc.)

    The debate around the influence of seals will be endless unless and until there is solid evidence of their conservation impact. Gold River affords a perfect opportunity to do the research. Confined area, long history of baseline data, predators easily detectable and can only ascend the river to a limited extent, First Nations likely wholly on board..... Just do it government!
    UkeeDreamin and IronNoggin like this.
  2. Cuba Libre

    Cuba Libre Well-Known Member

    So damn sad. I didnt fish the Gold much, but had great fishing the few times I did.
  3. onefish

    onefish Active Member

    With consecutive years with swim counts of 4 and 0, it sounds like it is already far too late for a seal cull to be of much help.
    It sounds like the winter run counts aren't much better on the stamp system.
  4. Fish Camp

    Fish Camp Well-Known Member

    Are you pickin on net pens in muchlat lK?350 K released my long weekend for the years that stealhead have diminoshed.I have walked the bush of the okwanch riv and have found pools of water with no escape for the fry to leave and took my bailing can to help them.That lake like comox lake (this year) have no harvest restrictions and need help.As for the gold riv ,forestey practices in the head water are a take another bite of the carrot.FC
  5. steeler

    steeler Member

    Have you heard the numbers from the stamp? Just curious. The stamp feels just like the last few years of the gold, barren. I fished the gold for many years and it had the feeling where there was just nothing in it for the last couple years. the stamp should be closed the same as the gold or at the very least should cancel the hatchery program from killing the last few for brood stock and close the meat holes where the fish are easily targeted at the choke points. this year the early run was non existent and that was the only part of the run with any half decent fishing for awhile. This hasn't just happened it was very evident for the last 10 years if not 15 that a serious decline was happening on the west coast island rivers and with no oversight it has gotten worse without anyone knowing the seriousness of it. I still run into people who are fishing the island rivers from the mainland and they tell me they heard fishing was really good on the island this year, the power of diminished baselines has allowed us to go past healthy stock levels on all fisheries and put them under pressure they are unable to withstand in diminished form. All island rivers should be closed because healthy sustainable populations aren't anywhere near reached on any of them. but instead we fish stocks to nothing in bc and governments just shrug their shoulders if anything when they are all gone. Put together all the factors and steelhead all the way along the coast of north America are set for the same fate as the gold even the huge hatchery enhanced rivers to the south are being closed and restricted because of low returns.
  6. Aces

    Aces Well-Known Member

    I used to be on a river 80-100 days from early October to Easter but haven’t fished then since 2004 because of the diminishing runs.

    Good luck to all the hard core Steel hunters
  7. Ripperoflips

    Ripperoflips Active Member

    So sad to hear this, we used to make a couple trips a year to the gold in the late eighties up to mid nineties, many fond memories.
  8. chris73

    chris73 Well-Known Member

    Your own line of statements clearly shows that the declines have nothing to do with sportfishing impact. No sportfishing closure at any given time would have prevented the exact same outcome. Focus on the real issues!
    jim morrow and Derby like this.
  9. steeler

    steeler Member

    Sportfishing isn't the main cause but still has an impact and with so few fish improper handling and pressure can harm the remaining few fish. I and most are well aware of the real issues but most of those are outside of our realm of control aside from habitat destruction and commercial by catch. As sports fishermen we are the last line and the only people on the ground to see the decline and its our responsibility to report when things aren't right. I still fish for steelhead and it is my favorite thing to do, however they are in trouble and I would give up my access if that meant a chance for recovery of the last couple of the most special fish we have on this continent. If sports fisherman dont acknowledge that things are bad then why would anyone else ever know or care about it and things will carry on until they are all gone and then we can sit around blaming it on all the other groups that never gave a shit about them in the first place.
    Birdbrain and Dave like this.
  10. chevyshaulass

    chevyshaulass Well-Known Member

    The Gold saw such little sport pressure the last few seasons it was open theres no way it had a significant impact. A Nice thing about the gold was that most of the major spawning areas are well above the boundary at the Muchalat so the same fish wouldn't typically just get hammered over and over. Fast forward to the Cowichan River right now where there are still a few hundred wild steelhead remaining but at this time of year when 75% or more of them are in full spawn mode they are still getting sorelipped again and again, day after day in the same sections of river. Steelhead are incredibly tough fish but these ones in particular are just getting abused. Its not necessarily anything new, but seems to be getting worse in the sense that there are fewer fish and as many anglers as ever all plugged into one river. Too many young, keen, wannabe Instagram stars that pound the same holes day after day after day trying to get famous. I really hate to promote closing waters, but giving these fish a break after March 1 certainly wouldn't hurt anything other than some ego's.
    CRGreg, fishinforever, kelly and 6 others like this.
  11. Wiseguy

    Wiseguy Member

    250 winter steelhead estimated return last winter on the Stamp.
  12. Whitebuck

    Whitebuck Well-Known Member

    The gold saw very little pressure the last 10years it was open. A busy day you might see a handful of anglers.
    The shit that’s going on at the Cowie is summed up perfect by Chevy. Sort of the same situation with the Vedder. A handful of heroes doing the broodstock program and can’t see the damage to the wild stock they are doing. Only care about people knowing they are getting them.

    Up and down the coast has been some of the worst returns I have seen since I have been fishing.
    Dave likes this.
  13. IronNoggin

    IronNoggin Well-Known Member

    Way overestimated. Reality.

    Whitebuck likes this.
  14. Wiseguy

    Wiseguy Member

    Was told to me from someone who is on that river almost everyday during the winter for the last several yrs. Not my place to name names here. Again it’s an estimation as winter steelhead is not counted. I would tend to believe that person more so then somebody who is not on the river everyday such as yourself.
  15. onefish

    onefish Active Member

    The stamp/somass is a large river, you would need 5+ swimmers in the water doing a swim count, in dead low water conditions, to get any idea of the numbers. A guy fishing everyday has NO idea as to how many are in the river. All you know is the fishing is good, fair, poor, piss poor etc, and can say the number are up, down, way down, non existent etc.

    I was fortunate enough to fish the gold in the 80's and 90's. The fishing was un freaking believable at times. I would say the run size was in the thousands but I would be guessing saying it was in the 2-4 thousand range, maybe it was higher. Hard to guesstimate when steelhead were entering the river year round. All I know is everywhere you went on the river you caught fish and saw fish rolling. It was by far the best steelhead river on Vancouver Island.
    nootkaassassin and IronNoggin like this.
  16. onefish

    onefish Active Member

    Or they could keep the regulations unchanged till the Cowichan matched the same status as the rest of the rivers on Vancouver Island.
  17. IronNoggin

    IronNoggin Well-Known Member

    I spent literally over 100 days a year on that flow for over a decade. Even coupling that with my training and experience as a biologist, I would in NO WAY try to infer that I could provide an "estimate" of the run size. The fact that your buddy deems himself capable of doing so, and your willingness to buy in, speaks volumes.

    Aces and Whitebuck like this.
  18. onefish

    onefish Active Member

    Stamp winter steel start late Nov and run til end of March maybe into early April. So 250 estimated fish divided by 4ish months is 60 to 70 fish per month entering the river. I am sure back in the height of the winter steelhead fishing on the stamp there were times when at least 60 or 70 fish entered the river on a single high tide.
    Arguing the numbers now is a mute point, it sucks and looks to continue to suck into the foreseeable future, likely never to return to anything resembling the not too distant past.
  19. IronNoggin

    IronNoggin Well-Known Member

    One of the saddest occurrences in my life.
    Built a lifestyle around those fish intentionally.
    Then they went away.
    Sad times indeed.

  20. Wildvanisle

    Wildvanisle Member

    You're right about the river getting hit hard but blaming "young wannabe instagram stars" is ridiculous when the population of Victoria alone has grown by more than 100k since the early 2000s. There is just way more people, and that isn't counting people from WA or elsewhere who've heard about the world famous Cowichan and take a few days off work to come up here and fish it. Maybe I'm not paying close enough attention to other anglers but when I'm fishing the Cowie I see a lot more people twice my age than not.

    Maybe if people stopped retaining wild steelhead before the population was diminished into the 100s we wouldn't be having this issue right now.

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